Monday, March 14, 2005

John Gray Is An Idiot

Brian Leiter has up a post laying into John Gray for continual and basic misunderstandings in his article in the New Statesman on Nietzsche. From my fairly limited reading of Nietzsche, Leiter seems right. What's more important, though, is that this seems to be a pattern in Gray's public, rather than academic, pronouncements. I was forced to conclude, on the basis of reading the first half or so of 'Straw Dogs' before giving up in disgust at the continual bad argumentation and misrepresentation, that Gray is either so stupid as to be a shocking indictment of the processes one is required to go through to obtain a professorship in Britain, or a devious liar, not that those alternatives should be taken as mutually exclusive. Arguing that Wittgenstein claimed that the world was constructed for humans, rather than that humans must interact with the world on the basis of the language games they play, is just ridiculous, for example. I have to admit that I have not read anything else by Gray, so maybe his more academic writings are better, but 'Straw Dogs' is truly awful, as it would appear this New Statesman article is, which I'm not going to bother to read, on the basis of what I've just said. It's also a bit rich for Gray to have a go at Nietzsche when he adopted his style - although obviously without much of the panache - wholesale for 'Straw Dogs'.

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